If you've considered using reclaimed building materials in projects but found it too difficult to source what you want in the necessary quantities and quality, PlanetReuse wants to be your go-to solution.
A consultancy and brokerage firm specializing in the sourcing and usage of reclaimed, FSC-certified, and excess new building materials, PlanetReuse recently forged a partnership with technology firm GreenWizard that aims to make using reclaimed materials more accessible to architects, engineers, and contractors. GreenWizard's Web-based solution helps specifiers search for and analyze the sustainable attributes of a broad spectrum of green building products (upgraded solutions extend capabilities to purchasing, project management, and generating LEED documentation), but it has not previously included reclaimed or excess materials.
Through this partnership, PlanetReuse will add 20-plus categories of such materials to GreenWizard's already-extensive online database of green building materials. The firm maintains its own online listing of materials, but wanted to expand its reach and promote reclaimed materials to a broader audience of specifiers who are interested in sustainable products.
"One of our missions is to expand the typically referred-to list of reclaimed materials, which is usually very short in most people's minds," says Nathan Benjamin, principal and founder of PlanetReuse. "You name it, we work with it. Anything from wood materials that are common in the industry, office furniture, and raised access flooring systems to excess new light fixtures from cancelled projects, structural steel, commercial doors and hardware, pavers, and other exterior materials for landscape designers."
After a GreenWizard user registers a request, PlanetReuse then acts as the materials broker to source the desired materials or products from demolition and salvage projects. The firm says it ensures material quality and will provide documentation for LEED and Living Building Challenge certification, and it prefers to work with project teams during the design and pre-construction phases as a consultant to help them maximize their LEED credits for locally sourced materials and to allow ample planning and production time for repurposing materials from their original uses.
Of course, PlanetReuse collects a fee for its consulting and materials sourcing work. However, "we work at no cost during the design phase of a project," Benjamin says. "We make a small brokering fee when the materials are sold and delivered to the new project. The fee varies project to project, but we try to keep it minimal so it's not a factor in whether the project uses reclaimed materials or not. We're trying to do multiple projects with companies and build relationships over time, not just do one project and get a big fee."
According to Benjamin, the firm has established relationships with contractors around the country who routinely are involved in deconstruction and salvage projects, and PlanetReuse lists their available materials on its own website alongside notices of materials it is searching for on behalf of clients. PlanetReuse has worked with a number of well-respected architecture firms to source materials for their projects, including BNIM's Omega Institute for Sustainable Living and the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in Kansas City, Mo., designed by Moshe Safdie & Associates with BNIM.